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Meet Kristin Riddell, advisor to the Data Collaboration Alliance

Updated: Mar 3, 2022

Kristin is a Principal of Curriculum at one of Canada's largest school boards working with schools, post-secondary institutions, other districts, and central agencies to build educational excellence.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Kristin Riddell and I am an educator. I'm currently a System Principal, primarily for high schools or secondary schools in the Ottawa region.

Education has been a big part of my life. It's actually the one consistent thing in my life I knew I wanted to do was to work in education and I've had the opportunity to be a teacher, department head, vice principal, a school site principal.

What's your relationship with data?

My role right now working in the system is helping support students, staff, and families in the areas of program and learning from kindergarten to grade 12. So it's very exciting and in particular, it's immense work obviously in curricula.

Assessment and evaluation are huge components and through all of this, looking at data is critical to anything that we do. For example, data is crucial to student achievement and student learning which is the reason why kids go to school, along with developing social skills and their identities. Data helps to inform so much what we can do within our instructional practice in the classroom, both at a school level as well as a system level.

We do report obviously to the Ministry of Education and they use data to inform the majority of their practice for all decisions. A big component of that is driven by the data that we collect in the system.

So personally, education is a huge component of my life. It's something that I love doing. It is my professional identity but also personally, it's really who I am. Particularly over the last few years, the way that I've been using data and the way that educators are working, data is going to continue to move forward but it really does inform and construct a lot of what we are doing for future student achievement and the various other components of education.

Why the Data Collaboration Alliance?

I really like data but I also really liked the word "collaboration". So when I'm thinking about core competencies or skills that students and educators need for the future, things like critical thinking, creativity, innovation, being digitally fluent, being collaborative, being resilient, being risk-takers - all of those things are essential to thrive both in school today and in any profession that they endeavor in.

What I really liked about the Data Collaboration Alliance is obviously the aspect of control. I think this is a really important thing because through control you help to build trust and confidence and that's one of the tenants of any public education system. You have to have that confidence and trust to use data that will improve learning and wellbeing for students. That's essential in any department that is in any system in education and data is critical to that

One thing that I really like about data collaboration as well is the aspect of the Learning Zone. So a term that's referenced in that is learning management systems and that's a huge component of my job right now.

So most of the platforms that we work with are learning management systems, whether it's to track how students are doing in math or their proficiency in reading and writing, that's all measured through data.

I feel the Data Collaboration Alliance is also going to bring various people and fields together in focusing on one collaboration through data. But most importantly, through really building trust, confidence, and control. I feel control is very important because in any education system we have to maintain confidentiality. But we also have to use data to move the system forward.

So looking at what's emerging within the Data Collaboration Alliance and with whom they're partnering with, it's going to be a really exciting thing to become involved with both personally and professionally. I'm certainly looking forward to connecting with people with whom I haven't connected with and then bringing a lot of people that I know in education into this fora to make things happen.

Final thoughts?

So I'd like to invite my fellow educators in North America to visit the Data Collaboration Alliance. It's exciting times, lots of exciting opportunities to collaborate and looking forward to working with all of you and to in particular checkout our Learning Zone.


The Data Collaboration Alliance is a nonprofit working to advance data ownership through pilot projects in sustainability, healthcare, education, and social inclusion. We also offer free training in the Data Collaboration methodology. Check out The Data Drop podcast on our website or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.


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